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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been a lurker on the forums for a few months and decided to register and post today because I'm having an increasingly difficult time with my 8 month old miniature Poodle puppy. We got him from a breeder around 4 months old and is becoming more and more aggressive as time goes on. His primary issues are:

-Resource guarding (only items he should not have - a sock, sticks, rocks. Never for his toys). He growls when approached and has even bitten us multiple times when attempting to take the items from him

-Growling when being picked up. This is a real concern for me as he does not take correction very kindly as it agitates him even more. He has also bitten under these circumstances.

He is extremely submissive in any other situation. If I go to pet him he rolls right to his back and looks up at me.

He is playful and does still play bite, but there is certainly a difference between his "play" and "guarding" bite.

He is currently going to a trainer that focuses on leash correction and training. So far he is able to "sit", "down" but I don't see any end in sight for "give". The trainer emphasizes using the leash to correct him when he is guarding or doing anything that is considered aggressive. The way I see it, this approach is making him more aggressive. Any input is greatly appreciated.

Edit: I want to add that the trainer is against "trading" items in regards to the guarding.
 

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First-
Start playing the "trade up" game for the items he should not have. There's a sticky on resource guarding that talks about that and other training techniques. Basically, he has a sock, you offer a tasty treat but he has to drop the the sock to get the treat. You pick a command like "Drop It" ; you don't want to be tugging anything away from him. By taking something away and not giving something in return, you teach him to guard what he considers valuable. If you provide him with something more valuable (bits of a hot dog for example or a peanut butter stuffed Kong) then he can feel confident in choosing to drop the bad item because he isn't on the losing end of things anymore.

While dogs should learn to deal with being picked up for vet treatment, grooming and such, you shouldn't be picking him up for most things like moving him out of the way (train "Out" or "Off") and if its for being petted, he should choose to come to you freely (not being picked up and put on a lap). You can use a treat as a lure to teach Out and Off (Out of the room, Off the couch etc).

Leash corrections may have their place, but not with this dog I would say. You want to teach him not to feel the NEED to guard items, not punish him for guarding them. I'd find a different trainer or just read some of the good books recommended in the stickies (and available at many libraries) and work on positive training.
 

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He is currently going to a trainer that focuses on leash correction and training. So far he is able to "sit", "down" but I don't see any end in sight for "give". The trainer emphasizes using the leash to correct him when he is guarding or doing anything that is considered aggressive. The way I see it, this approach is making him more aggressive. Any input is greatly appreciated.
This absolutely will make the problem worse, all it will do is convince your dog that he needs to guard, and damage his trust in you. As Shell said, play the "trade up" game and teach him a command like "off" or "drop it".

Edit: I want to add that the trainer is against "trading" items in regards to the guarding.
Get a new trainer.
 

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Edit: I want to add that the trainer is against "trading" items in regards to the guarding.
Get a new trainer.

Think of it this way.
You are holding something you like. Let's say a candy bar. Your boss walks up and grabs the candy bar and take it away. First time, you let it happen and just go get another candy bar from the machine. Boss grabs that one away and smacks your hand. You get annoyed. Get another candy bar. Boss walks up, grabs the candy bar, you cling to the candy bar so he yanks your hand away and then smacks it. Now, the next time you have a candy bar and the boss reaches for it, you're likely to go ballistic on him, right? Verbally maybe as a human, but a dog's way of "yelling" at that point is by biting.

Now change the scene a little bit. You have a candy bar, boss walks up holding a pizza and says "Trade?" You say SURE. You're not going to be all that focused on a candy bar anymore with your new pizza. Maybe you get another candy bar though the next day, boss offers a trade, you take it. Maybe the next time the boss just asks for the candy bar without offering a trade, but since you now trust him you will still be provided with something good later, you give it up voluntarily. Once the concept of "trading up" is established, you don't ALWAYS have to trade up, you just need to trade up often enough to keep the "promise" that reliquishing items isn't a bad thing.

The higher value object the dog has, the more you have to train the trade up and the higher the value of the trade. "Value" is determined by the dog- some dogs are nuts for tennis balls and won't even drop them for steak bits but don't care at all for tug ropes and will hand them over in exchange for kibble.
 

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one thing to add- i haven't met a dog yet that won't work with you for the freeze dried liver at the petstore. that stuff works wonders for teaching things like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your responses. We've tried to "trade" but it seemed like it only encouraged him to seek out items in order to be rewarded. Kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place with this...
 

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Thanks for your responses. We've tried to "trade" but it seemed like it only encouraged him to seek out items in order to be rewarded. Kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place with this...
That's a good thing!This is called "extinction", and right before the behavior is trained out, there's a renewed burst of the behavior. People think this means the training isn't working and give up- 2 seconds before success.

Also, don't leave socks and such lying around. If there aren't any socks on the floor, he can't pick them up.

Please, please get a different trainer. Punishment based training does terrible things to your relationship with a dog, and causes behavioral problems with the dog. Poodles are very smart and you will be amazed what you could teach your little guy with a clicker and a bag of treats.
 

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Definitely get a new trainer - in fact, get a dog behaviourist, as they better understand the psyche behind the dog. Trainers have a variety of methods, but try to find one that focuses on positive methods - this means no leash jerking, yelling, corrections. Just distract, redirection, and positive reinforcement.

Definitely trade up, and NEVER take something away from your dog unless they are willingly trading it up. If he's having something "illegal" and potentially dangerous, you need to manage that by making sure he can't get into anything he shouldn't (shoes should be in closets, up high, tissues in garbage, socks off the floor). This is hard, but the only way until he's reliable in trading up willingly.
 

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Definitely get a new trainer - in fact, get a dog behaviourist, as they better understand the psyche behind the dog. Trainers have a variety of methods, but try to find one that focuses on positive methods - this means no leash jerking, yelling, corrections. Just distract, redirection, and positive reinforcement.

Definitely trade up, and NEVER take something away from your dog unless they are willingly trading it up. If he's having something "illegal" and potentially dangerous, you need to manage that by making sure he can't get into anything he shouldn't (shoes should be in closets, up high, tissues in garbage, socks off the floor). This is hard, but the only way until he's reliable in trading up willingly.
This^^^. Agree with all of the other posters. Get a new trainer. Your current trainer will make your dog aggressive and dangerous.
Trade up.
When you say the dog doesn't take corrections well, I'm gussing you are punishing. Teach WHAT to do...not What NOT to do. Dogs don't understand "No". Because at any given time when you give the command, they may be doing several things...sitting on couch, chewing on toy, growling, etc. They have no way of knowing which of those things you don't want. So teach what to do...ie...Off" (if you don't want them on the couch, "Drop it" if you want them to give up something, "come" if they are near something they shouldn't be.
 

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Get a new trainer.

Think of it this way.
You are holding something you like. Let's say a candy bar. Your boss walks up and grabs the candy bar and take it away. First time, you let it happen and just go get another candy bar from the machine. Boss grabs that one away and smacks your hand. You get annoyed. Get another candy bar. Boss walks up, grabs the candy bar, you cling to the candy bar so he yanks your hand away and then smacks it. Now, the next time you have a candy bar and the boss reaches for it, you're likely to go ballistic on him, right? Verbally maybe as a human, but a dog's way of "yelling" at that point is by biting.

Now change the scene a little bit. You have a candy bar, boss walks up holding a pizza and says "Trade?" You say SURE. You're not going to be all that focused on a candy bar anymore with your new pizza. Maybe you get another candy bar though the next day, boss offers a trade, you take it. Maybe the next time the boss just asks for the candy bar without offering a trade, but since you now trust him you will still be provided with something good later, you give it up voluntarily. Once the concept of "trading up" is established, you don't ALWAYS have to trade up, you just need to trade up often enough to keep the "promise" that reliquishing items isn't a bad thing.

The higher value object the dog has, the more you have to train the trade up and the higher the value of the trade. "Value" is determined by the dog- some dogs are nuts for tennis balls and won't even drop them for steak bits but don't care at all for tug ropes and will hand them over in exchange for kibble.
I love this. So awesome. And now I want pizza.
 
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